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Common Green Darners Migrating

9-16-13 common green darner 249The Common Green Darner, Anax junius, is one of our largest dragonflies, measuring three inches long, with a four-inch wingspread. It is strikingly colored, with a green thorax and a bright blue (male) or reddish (female) abdomen. As if that weren’t enough to set this dragonfly apart, it is also migratory. Common Green Darners migrate south from August to November, stopping over (like migrating birds) occasionally along the way, resuming flight after resting and refueling. Thanks to radio telemetry, we now know that over a two-month migration, Common Green Darners, each weighing about one gram, can migrate over 400 miles. (Photograph is of a Common Green Darner perched on Bottle Gentian.)

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6 responses

  1. janetpesaturo

    Beautiful photo. Do you know how much the transmitters weigh? I wonder if the extra weight impacts success of migration, and also the frequency and length of time of each refueling.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    • Hi Janet,
      Good question. The transmitters weighed around 25% of each dragonfly’s body mass. This undoubtedly slowed them down, plus they only put transmitters on and followed 14 dragonflies. But other researchers have since used isotopes and found that they flew a mean distance of 560 miles (a maximum of nearly 1,800 miles!).

      September 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm

  2. Great shot. I think the most challenging aspect of dragonfly photography is the background — and you certainly nailed this one!

    September 16, 2013 at 6:17 pm

  3. Hi, Mary, I have observed many Dragonflies pursuing mosquitoes. It seems to me the mosquitoes are well aware they are being pursued, just like a songbird knows a hawk is pursuing it. It takes excellent eyesight, and some patience to witness. I love your book, and my family enjoys it also. It is very educational.

    March 26, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    • Thanks Brian. Much appreciate your observations!

      March 26, 2014 at 8:47 pm

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